Corona is a beer brand now owned by brewing tyrants AB InBev, but which was originally owned by a Mexican brewery Cervecería Modelo. It’s flagship beer, Corona Extra, is in the top 5 of best-selling beers in the world, and is the most popular imported beer in the United States, even surpassing Heineken. The original recipe for the pale lager was released in 1925, but their first non-alcoholic offering, Corona Cero, did not come along until January 2022. Also known as Corona Sunbrew in the States (sounds like a 1990s fake orange juice to me), the nolo beer clocks in at 0.0% ABV, advertises itself as being brewed with ‘100% natural ingredients’, and may well be the biggest non-alcoholic beer launch since Guinness 0.0.
I have to admit to having consumed much Corona Extra in my time, but I wouldn’t say it was because it was a good beer. Corona seems to be the go-to bevvie for barbecues in the British summer, days on the beach, basically anywhere you’re going to get hot and want a cold beer. It became the standard social lubricant for enjoyable times with friends in the sunshine. I suspect AB InBev want Corona Cero to be this beer for the section of the market that is eschewing alcohol.
Like other AB InBev nolos, Corona Cero starts off as a full-ABV beer and is then put through the reverse osmosis process to strip it of alcohol. It’s probably at this point that they add in their mysterious ‘Natural Flavours’ that adorn the ingredients of the company’s many non-alcoholic brews. Although the fashion is to drink your bottle of Corona with a wedge of lime rammed into the neck, it never really worked for me, so I’ll be drinking this ‘au naturel’, and also heretically in a glass, rather than straight from the bottle.
The beer pours a light golden colour with very slight fridge haze, and many visible bubbles. A big frothy head is produced as it fills the glass, though this fades rapidly. On the nose we get light lager malt and grains, a whiff of spicy hop and a touch of lemon citrus. On subsequent inhaling there may also be a touch of stone fruit there too. Standard light lager aroma, very clean and inoffensive.
There’s an initial sweetness when we taste, malty biscuit and caramel, but this is tempered by a spicy bitterness and some grassy hop flavour. It’s very, very close to the original. The body is light but it’s not watery like other AF lagers can be, indeed it’s slightly syrupy. The carbonation is well-balanced and the mouthfeel is smooth, the beer slipping down almost too easily. We get a dry finish to the drink.
Corona Cero is another AB InBev beer that makes the transition to alcohol-free surprisingly well, like Stella Artois before it. It tastes like the beer I remember, and indeed brings back memories of summers past and great times with friends. It’s not a beer to drink for bags of flavour and aroma; you have your NEIPAs for that. It’s a beer that becomes the background to good times and friendly chats. It’s also cheap and readily available in most supermarkets I’ve seen at the moment.
Buy Corona Cero
Four-packs of Corona Cero bottles seem to be adoring every nolo section I see in the big supermarkets these days. The bottle design is very similar to Extra, so it’s easy to spy. You can of course choose to buy them online too:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Barley Malt, Maize, Sugar, Hops, Natural Flavours
|Country of Production
|AB InBev – https://www.tapintoyourbeer.com/
Corona Cero Non-Alcoholic Review
The closest you’ll get to a Corona Extra without the alcohol. If you’re a fan of the full-fat version then this should also tickle the same fancy.